<
>

Kyle Busch, Joey Logano meet with NASCAR over Vegas melee

AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Wearing sunglasses and ready to get into his car about 15 minutes before practice Friday at Phoenix Raceway, Kyle Busch had a message for the media: "Everything is great."

The last time Busch was at a racetrack, he walked out of Las Vegas Motor Speedway with blood on his forehead -- the result of being tackled after he threw a punch at Joey Logano following a last-lap wreck.

NASCAR officials met with Logano and Busch prior to Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice Friday.

Busch talked to the media for 40 seconds afterward.

When Busch was asked about the meeting, his response was: "Everything is great. I'm looking forward to a fantastic weekend here in Phoenix, [getting] back to the racetrack."

When Busch was asked what Logano did wrong and if he would race him differently, his response was: "Everything is great. I'm looking forward to [getting] back to the racetrack and getting into my race car."

The next question: Is he OK with Logano?

Busch's response: "Everything is great. I'm really looking forward to getting in my race car and getting back here in Phoenix."

Asked if he was glad this was over, he said: "Everything is great. I'm really looking forward to getting back in my car and being here in Phoenix."

Once back in the car at Phoenix, Busch posted the ninth-best time in qualifying, while Logano won the pole. Busch was happy to have something good happen but still was frustrated by the accident that occurred as they tried to pass a wounded Brad Keselowski in the final lap at Las Vegas.

"I made a move down the backstretch that cut Joey off, and I had to [because] I wasn't going to just roll out of the gas and fall in behind Brad and probably lose spots to more guys behind me," Busch said. "So I made a bold move. I was two-thirds of my way past Logano and figured I could wedge my way through there a little bit and I did. And it was instantaneous retaliation.

"That's what I thought, and that's kind of what I still think. The fact of the matter is it's time to move on and press forward."

Logano said he tried to explain to Busch what happened in the crash, where it appeared Logano accelerated into the corner and lost control of his car -- and he slid into Busch.

"I really just tried to explain I made a mistake underneath him," said Logano, who had talked to Busch earlier in the week. "He asked for some [throttle] data, and I was able to show him that.

"That's that. We'll move on. ... Time will tell [how it goes]. The only thing I can do at this point is plead my case and say, 'Hey, it was an honest mistake. It was hard racing at the end.'"

After qualifying Friday night, Busch said he felt the contact was intentional and the data Logano showed him Friday morning didn't change his mind.

While Busch has had problems with Keselowski, he had not had problems with Logano previously.

"You race guys how you want to be raced and you expect the same the other way around," Busch said. "I didn't expect that move from Joey. I thought that would have been a perfect opportunity to kind of showcase we both are good and it's like [for him], 'Oh, you know what, it's fourth, he got the spot, he got me this time, damn.' But he didn't. He chose a different route.

"And if it was Brad, I would have expected that route to be chosen. It's very frustrating to continue to get wrecked by the Penske guys and so that's the way I felt the way I felt."

NASCAR typically will allow contact on the racetrack as long as the drivers are racing for position, but it will react when a driver clearly alters the results of an event with an intentional retaliatory move not related to trying to gain spots on the track.

"You never know [what will happen between them]," NASCAR executive vice president Steve O'Donnell said. "NASCAR is built on good, hard racing, which is what we believe we saw at Las Vegas."

O'Donnell believes the two drivers won't cross the line on the track.

"We're very clear that we're not going to allow a car to be used as a weapon," O'Donnell said.

NASCAR did not fine Busch for throwing the punch. O'Donnell was asked if NASCAR believed it had opened the door for drivers to get out of their cars and start throwing haymakers.

"We don't," O'Donnell said. "We were clear on our expectations with those guys."

Logano was fine with that decision by NASCAR. He joked that he used ninja moves to avoid getting punched.

"I don't see where there should be a fine," said Logano, who indicated his responsibilities to his sponsors and team owner Roger Penske would keep him from going up to a driver and throwing a punch. "In my mind, I didn't see anything wrong. ... It is part of sport. It is part of competition. Emotions flare. Everyone reacts differently, and it's hard to react in the way you want to sometimes when things get heated.

"I get it and I don't really see where there should be a penalty for that. No one punched -- no one got hit."